On September 2 (Local Time), Magistrate K Thomson’s Parramatta LC Court 13 ordered the release of Vishal Jood, the Indian student lodged in a jail in Australia, on October 15, 2021. As per reports, in a plea bargain, NSW’s Department of Public Prosecutors dropped eight charges that included the racial hate crime charges against Jood. OpIndia has confirmed with Jood’s lawyer about his release.
Vishal reportedly pleaded guilty to three minor charges of altercations that happened between September 16, 2020, and February 14, 2021. During the final hearing, Vishal’s lawyer presented video evidence to prove that Jood was provoked by a group of Khalistanis that led to the altercation. For the charges he pleaded guilty to, Jood was sentenced to six months in Jail starting from the day of his arrest, April 16, 2021. His sentence would be over on October 15, 2021.
The Vishal Jood Case
24-year-old Vishal Jood hails from Haryana and currently pursuing higher studies in Australia. He was arrested for his alleged involvement in three crimes in Sydney on April 16. Reports suggest that he was picked by the Australian Police after a group of Indian nationalists clashed with Khalistani elements in Australia. He was charged with damage to property, affray, and assault.
Interestingly, in all three cases, Khalistanis were named as victims. These Khalistani elements are believed to be Indian-origin, however, they do not identify themselves as Indians but prefer being identified with their religious identity and support the idea of Khalistan. OpIndia talking to a few Indian nationalists who said that hostilities between the Indian diaspora and the Khalistani extremists existed for a long time but took a violent turn on August 28, 2020. The fight started after Jassi, a Khalistani, started posting pro-Khalistani and anti-India content on TikTok.
The matter got escalated to the point where both groups gathered at Harris Park and indulged in a gang fight. Jassi, the main culprit in the case, was badly injured. However, Jassi did not back down and continued to threaten Hindus, suggesting he would thrash Haryanvis if he comes across them alone. The tension further escalated between Indians and pro-Khalistani elements once again after the passing of farmer bills in the country and the subsequent protests that began in Punjab in September last year. The protests led by rich farmers and arhatiyas (intermediaries), instigated by Khalistani elements, reached Australia too.
While farmer protests were happening in India, Khalistani elements held similar protests in Australia and used abusive language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A few months later, on January 26, the alleged farmers camping at the Delhi border, joining hands with Khalistani elements, had unleashed violence on the streets of New Delhi and desecrated the national flag at Delhi’s Red Fort. The incident sent shockwaves across the world, and the Indian diaspora across the world, including in Australia, condemned the incident.
Reportedly, an Indian flag was also burnt at a Gurudwara in Sydney, but OpIndia could not verify the details. As a retaliation, a Khalistani flag was burnt by Indian students that irked the Khalistanis further. A Tiktok video went viral from a pro-Khalistan account that showed many Khalistanis beating someone up brutally. Soon, they declared they had bashed an individual named Vishal Jood who had ‘insulted their flag’. However, a day later, it came to light that the Khalistanis had ended up beating some random guy, not Vishal.
On February 28 this year, the Khalistanis entered the localities near Sydney’s Harris Park, where Indians live and vandalised cars and properties. On April 16, a few weeks after the alleged crime, Vishal was arrested from his house in Sydney. The Australian police stated that there is an outstanding warrant against him since 2018 for “other crimes”. Family accused Australian police of deliberately delaying to please Khalistanis and alleged that Indian High Commission was not helping them too.
On September 1, Jood’s lawyer came to an agreement with the prosecutors, and Vishal pleaded guilty in two cases that included charges of minor altercation. Rest of the charges were dropped. The Australia Today quoted Vishal’s brother saying, “By the grace of Bajrang Bali Vishal will be with us soon, we are looking forward to his release from Sydney Prison.”